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Library Lingo A-Z

24/7 reference - chat reference service that is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  



Abstract - a brief description or summary of an item.

Academic library - refers to the library of a college, university, or other post-secondary institution of higher education.  The library serves the information and research needs of its students, faculty, and staff. 

Access Services - the service department where library materials can be checked out and returned, often called Circulation Department. 

Ask a Librarian - digital (chat) reference service staffed by librarians and other library staff.



Boolean operators - named after mathematician George Boole, the most commonly used are: AND, OR, and NOT. They connect search words together to tell a system how to combine those words. Google and some databases automatically insert AND between search words, while in others, you must type connectors between search words. 

Bound volumes - issues of magazine, journal and other loose publications, sewn or glued together, with front and back covers, like a hardcover book.



Call number - the number located on the spine of a library book that is used to identify its place on a shelf. The Wilson Library uses the Library of Congress (LC) classification system.

Catalog - (see "Library Catalog")

Circulation - the service department where library materials can be checked out and returned.

Citation - a reference to an item which provides enough bibliographic information for someone to locate that item. These items document sources and also serve as evidence for arguments in published materials.



Database - an index to articles within magazines, newspapers, and/or journals (e.g. Academic Search Complete, ProQuest Newspapers, ERIC).  

Descriptors - (see"subject headings")

Domain - provides a general idea of what kind of web site you are viewing, mostly through the use of suffixes, like .edu for educational organization. Want more? Check the Webopedia for more info.



HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) - markup language for webpages.  Unlike a PDF document, an HTML full-text may include links that take you to different sections of a document.  The disadvantage of an HTML full-text is the loss of original images and page numbers that may exist in an original magazine, newspaper, or journal.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) - interlibrary loan service enables La Verne students, faculty, and staff to borrow materials not available at the Wilson Library from other libraries, both in this country and abroad. It is called LeoDelivers at the Wilson Library.   The service is free to University of La Verne borrowers.

Invisible web - Internet resources that search engines cannot discover, such as the results of dynamically generated searches in subscription databases. 



Law Library -

LeoPac - search for books and periodical titles the library owns.  This is the Wilson Library's library catalog.

Library catalog - search for books and periodical titles the library owns.  The Wilson Library library catalog is referred to as LEOPac

Licensed database - accessible only to La Verne students, staff, and faculty with La Verne ID and password.



Oversize - refers to books larger than standard and do not fit on regular-sized bookshelves.  Oversized books are usually placed in the a separate location from the regular stacks in their respective library.  An oversized book is indicated with the term FOLIO in front of a call number (e.g., N6655 .O59t).



PDF (Portable Document Format) - exact copies of items, as they appeared when published in print.  You can read PDF files by using Adobe Acrobat Reader, freely available on the Adobe web site <>

Peer-reviewed journal - items which have been examined by experts in a field in an effort to ensure quality.  Experts look for accuracy, completeness, scholarship, and use of appropriate and up to date supporting evidence. (May be described as refereed, academic, scholarly, or vetted.)

Periodical - an item published at intervals (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc. -- e.g., magazines, newspapers, and journals.)

Periodical index - a publication or database that indexes magazine, journal or newspaper articles and may include books, book chapters (essays), dissertations, conference papers, etc. Many periodical databases include fulltext of the indexed articles or links to the fulltext. Important note: Many online databases are licensed for use by specific groups or individuals and may not be available to the general public.

Plagiarism - using another person's work, ideas, and/or words as if they were your own.

Proxy Servergives you access to our library resources remotely by having you sign in with your last name and La Verne ID.



Refereed journal - (see "Peer-reviewed")

Reference - service that provides students with assistance in doing their research or using the library. Ask general or research questions at the reference desk in-person, by telephone, by email or online through digital reference.

Reference book - this means it is for reference-only and stays in the library and are separate from the circulating books.

Reserves - library items that faculty have put on hold for their students so that everyone in the class can use them.  Loan periods are typically 2-hours.



Scholarly journal - (see "Peer-reviewed")

Serial - (see "Periodical")

Special Collections - materials that are rare or archival, often one-of-a-kind, that does not circulate and must be used under special conditions. 

Subject - (see "Subject headings")

Subject headings - words or phrases from a thesaurus or list of terms to group together material (i.e., books and articles) on the same topic.



Truncation - a "wild card" symbol. It tells the system to search for items that begin with or come in the middle of a string of characters -- e.g., child* searches for child, children; wom?n searches for woman or women. Important Note: Different databases may use different truncation symbols. Check the online help for details.


Unbound issues - loose periodicals which have been published separately, usually with soft paper covers. Libraries often gather them together into bound volumes.

University Archives - the official repository for non-current university records.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator) - the web address of a resource or file available on the Internet.



Visible web - sometimes referred to as the "surface web," consisting of freely available sites that can be found by search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, etc.



Wild card - (see "Truncation")

Wilson Library - the University of La Verne library serving the College of Arts & Sciences, College of Business & Public Management, and the College of Education & Organizational Leadership.  It is located on the Main Campus. 


Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. Adapted from: Grassian, Esther, Diane Mizrachi, and Pauline Swartz. "Glossary." The Road to Research. UCLA College Library, 2004. Web.  Updated by Erin Gratz.